Graduate Entry Nursing - Mental Health MSc


Fact file

MSc Nursing (Graduate Entry Nursing - Mental Health)
MSc, 2 years subject to previous health care experience (advanced standing) and starts in January
Entry requirements
Applicants will be expected to have an honours degree (2:2 or above)
Other requirements
your degree should be in a health related subject (or other subjects where your degree has transferable skills that support you in becoming a nurse). Degrees in biological sciences, social sciences, psychology, behavioural sciences, and health studies are particularly relevant. Students without a biological sciences background will undertake pre-course preparation work and some relevant experience.
7.0 (no less than 7.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Derby Education Centre at Royal Derby Hospital
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This course enables those with an undergraduate degree to become a qualified, registered nurse. It's ideal for those looking to quickly retrain for a more challenging or rewarding career.
Read full overview

This information is based on the curriculum for 2017 entry. The Nursing and Midwifery Council is currently revising its standards for nursing education, and so what we teach may change for 2018. Please keep checking this page for the latest details.

Our MSc-GEN mental health nursing course is aimed at those who already have a degree and some prior healthcare experience, and are committed to providing excellence in care to people who experience mental health problems, becoming a registered nurse in just two years.

According to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), nursing is defined as "The use of clinical judgement in the provision of care to enable people to improve, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health problems, and to achieve the best possible quality of life, whatever their disease or disability...". Mental health nurses make a vital contribution to supporting service users' recovery, working alongside people to help them manage their distress and work towards individualised goals. 

On this course students will have the opportunity to learn a range of mental health nursing skills including communication skills, building rapport, and developing a therapeutic relationship. Students will also learn about different psychological approaches and techniques that can help people learn how to manage their mental distress. These skills will be developed through role play, working in groups, understanding the underpinning theories, and on practice placements.

This course is designed to build the skills and knowledge needed for a modern nursing career. We offer a person-centred approach, offering holistic care for the individual and their family - covering social, psychological and biological perspectives - and you will gain clinical experience in a supportive environment. 

Alongside the huge range of University support services, care has been taken to develop a course that supports you to become a confident and independent learner. We welcome students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree, or simply want a change of career, and academic support from personal tutors and peers can help students back into education.

The Division of Nursing sits within the School of Health Sciences, which is a research active school and has its own dedicated Mental Health Research Group led by Professor Mike Slade. All our teaching staff are experts in the field, having published key mental health texts, while many are also qualified nurses.  

This two year accelerated nursing degree has helped to define me as a conscientious healthcare professional. The support of a dedicated team was instrumental in my attaining this fulfilling and worthwhile qualification, while its hands-on and immersive components facilitated a smooth transition into nursing.  

     - George Bond, Graduate Entry Nursing   

Watch our student profiles

Course duration and structure

This programme is a three year course that is undertaken in two years, though the accreditation of your undergraduate degree and relevant practical experience*. 

In line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulation, all courses leading to registration (no matter their academic level) must be of three years duration. However, for students who already have a suitable degree and relevant work experience, we can shorten the duration of the course to two years.

Students are required to produce an advance standing portfolio, which reflects their work at the level expected of a year one student nurse within their chosen field. The portfolio is produced electronically through distance-learning and there is plenty of support to help with this process, including live webinars and tutorial support in terms of any technical difficulties.

*Examples of relevant experience can be found under the 'How to apply' tab, below.  

This course is not suitable for qualified nurses. If you are a qualified nurse you may wish to consider our professional courses.
Learning environments

This course is offered at the Derby Education Centre at Royal Derby Hospital, where we have a clinical skills suite, four-bed simulated ward, and additional drop-in facilities where students can practice in a simulated environment. 

Students benefit from taking part in simulations which enable them to practice mental health nursing care with simulated patients (actors) in a safe environment. Mental health students also have the opportunity to work alongside adult and child field nursing students, participating in simulated scenarios with young people who experience emotional distress.

Although you will be based in Derby, getting to our Nottingham campus is easy, with a free hopper bus which take students from Nottingham to Royal Derby Hospital. 

Students can also take advantage of the free HELM Open database, offering over 200 quality, peer-reviewed online learning and teaching resources. 

Campus community

We are proud to have one of the most active students' unions at any UK university, with over 300 societies and sports clubs where you can have fun, gain new skills and meet like-minded people.

Students can also join the Nursing and Midwifery Association (NMA) society, who aid interprofessional collaboration as well as hosting social activities, organising sporting events and providing welfare support.

How to apply

Applications are accepted through UCAS. Applications received before the UCAS closing date in January are prioritised, however we continue to accept late applications for any remaining places. 

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed and selection made based on academic qualifications and personal attributes suitable for nursing. Candidates will need to present a short account of how their prior learning and experience relates to nursing practice. 

Relevant healthcare experience

Healthcare experience is essential to meet Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) advanced standing requirements for this course. This will involve demonstrating a basic level of care experience (under supervision) through the submission of an online portfolio of evidence.

Examples of relevant experience could include working as:

  • a healthcare assistant
  • a mental health support worker
  • a volunteer with charitable healthcare institutions
  • a care giver within the family 

Find out more about the selection process.


Our MSc-GEN mental health nursing students are typically allocated to community, private, voluntary and independent, and acute placement settings.

Students will gain experience in each of the following placement categories:


  • Acute care and crisis support
  • Mental healthcare of the older person 

There are also opportunities to experience some of the following:

  • Forensic services, including high secure hospital
  • Child and adolescent mental health services
  • Substance misuse and addiction services
  • Liaison psychiatry
  • Mother and baby mental health services

Rather than being given a pass/fail, your progress during placements is graded (dependent on the stage of your course), using 'credits for practice'. Credits go toward your final degree classification, meaning students are assessed based on their practice ability as well as academic achievements.  

Hub and spoke model

The course has a 50/50 split in terms of time spent in study and practice placement, and we have introduced an innovative hub-and-spoke model. Your 'hub' placement will be your main base and will provide you with experience in a particular area.

In addition to this hub placement, the 'spoke' placement allows you to go to a different area to see another aspect of the patient journey. For example, you may be based on a hospital ward, but you will also experience a GP's surgery and the care outpatients receive in the community once they go home.

This holistic approach will give you a wider perspective and demonstrate some of the challenges that both patients and healthcare professionals face at various stages.

Year one

In the first year, you will take part in small study groups (cross field), with some specialising in mental health nursing.

The structure is as below:

Module one

  • Five weeks theory
  • Five weeks hub placement
  • Leave
  • Five weeks theory

Module two

  • Four weeks theory
  • Four weeks spoke placement
  • Four weeks return to hub placement (this is assessed)
  • Three weeks theory

Please note that students have the same mentor for both hub placements.

Year two

In year two, you will receive clinical supervision preparing you for registered nursing practice. This supervision is integrated into the course structure from the first to last clinical placement.

Clinical skill development is an essential component of any nursing course. This will occur both in University and practice. Some clinical skills, for example hand washing, are accessed alongside other components of the course.

Typical clinical skills that will be covered include:

  • Developing the therapeutic relationship
  • Recovery planning
  • Giving injections
  • Cognitive behavioural techniques
  • Administering of medication
  • Coping strategies for hearing voices  

Once you have successfully completed the course you will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a mental health nurse.

Find out more about how you will learn and be assessed, including an example first-year timetable, on our teaching webpage

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from individuals irrespective of age, race, sexual orientation or background as the diversity this brings to nursing reflects the population you will be caring for as a registered nurse. We are experienced in providing advice relevant to your needs as a mature nursing student through our personal tutor and University support systems.

Find out more about studying at Nottingham as a mature student on the mature students website. 

As a mature student I've had a lot of support and realised that there's a lot of people in the same boat as me - that don't live within the halls of residence at University, and that are around my age - so I've had a lot of peer support as well as the academic support. 

     - Gavin Hibberd-Smith, Graduate Entry Nursing


Course details

Students are required to have an honours degree (2:2 or above) and GCSEs including English, maths and a science* at grade C or above. Please note we will not accept nursing degrees.

If you don't have a biological sciences background and you are made an offer, we will ask you to carry out pre-course preparation work.

*Anatomy and Physiology, Human Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Double Award.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, and you have not attained GCSE English (grade C or above), then you must pass an approved test before you apply.

For nursing the test currently recognised is the IELTS with the following scores:

At least 7.0 in the listening and reading sections.
At least 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections.

An overall score of 7 (out of a possible 9).

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. 

Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS.

Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants' varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We consider applicants' circumstances and broader achievements as part of the assessment process, but do not vary the offer from the grades advertised as a result of these. Please see the University's admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

Entry qualifications should be regulated (see find a regulated qualification) and overseas qualifications are accepted at our discretion after discussion with The University of Nottingham's International Office. Distance learning programme may be accepted if a recognised regulated qualification is awarded.

For all courses, selection is made on the basis of meeting entry requirements, academic potential and evidence of commitment to nursing. All offers are subject to being successful at the selection day, satisfactory health screening, and disclosure and barring service (DBS) clearance. 

You can find out more information on our Advice for Nursing Applicants webpage. 

International students

This course is not currently available to international students.



Our modules provide a balance of nursing theory and practical application via placements and are delivered in 15 week blocks. Modules are guided by the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) policies and procedures. On completion of all eight modules, students will be eligable to register as a qualified nurse (Mental Health) with the NMC.

Typical Year One Modules
Foundations for Professional and Personal Effectiveness in Nursing
This module provides students with the opportunity to explore the foundations of health and illness within the context of their developing professional role. Students will have the opportunity to develop knowledge, values and skills that place the individual at the centre of health care delivery and which are required for the safe delivery of care in a variety of settings. Learning will be primarily enquiry-based but also in the form of workshops, seminars and lectures.
Diverse Perspectives on Care Assessment, Planning, Delivery and Decision Making for Nursing Practice
This module gives the opportunity to experience health from the perspective of the individual and their carer. You will consider factors in infection control, self-management, communication, the impact of health on the family unit and assessment, re-integration and social inclusion. 
The Social Context of Health Care Provision and Delivery
This module provides students with the opportunity to critically evaluate the role and practice of the nurse in a variety of settings. This includes further development of knowledge and skills in applying and evaluating appropriate and relevant nursing care and provides students with an understanding of health determinants, health inequalities and the development of skills in health promotion. You will be helping care givers by promoting independence and rehabilitation.
Research Proposal (Research 1)
This module will improve your confidence when undertaking research so that you will be more prepared for the dissertation. You will select a specific topic with the approval of your tutor and critically evaluate relevant literature to support your studies. In addition you will use qualitative and quantitative study techniques while considering ethical concerns during your research.
Typical Year Three Modules
Complex Care Delivery and Decision Making for
Nursing Practice
This module gives you the chance to consolidate knowledge and the skills needed to deliver care to individuals. You will consider the evaluation and implementation of care in complex scenarios and analyse their practice in terms of ethical and legal responsibilities. You will learn through a number of lectures, workshops, discussions and seminars to develop your skills.
Mental Health Field Complex Care Delivery and
Decision Making for Nursing Practice
To provide students with the opportunity to critically explore the skills, values and evidence base essential for supporting individuals towards their recovery when they are experiencing mental health problems. You will look into the structure of mental health services and how this affects contemporary mental health facilities. You will also consider the ethics of mental health legislation. There will be lectures, seminars and workshops to aid your learning.
Professional Development, Leadership and Innovation
for Nursing Practice
This module provides students with the opportunity to develop the capacity to organise and evaluate care and the management of individuals and/or groups in order to deliver high quality holistic care. You will also consider the best innovations necessary to offer the best practice and service delivery. There will be lectures, workshops and seminars to help you progress.
Research Dissertation
In this module you will complete an empirical or literature based research discussion. You will give in-depth critical analysis of relevant literature and analyse different findings. In addition you will discuss the implications in your findings and offer recommendations for nursing practice. Finally you will contribute to the existing knowledge and evidence base for nursing knowledge and practice through effective written and verbal communication, effectively disseminating conclusions to a range of audiences.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Update on funding changes 

Changes to the funding and financial support of students beginning nursing, midwifery or physiotherapy courses were announced in the government Spending Review in November 2015. From 2017/18, new students will no longer receive NHS bursaries and will need to take out maintenance and tuition loans like other students. However, students joining this course in January 2018 will still have course fees paid for by the government.  

Further detail will be published in due course by the government. The full consultation response is available online which also outlines additional grants for childcare and funding placement travel and accommodation expenses for students.  

For current details please visit and the Council of Deans of Health website. For an independent view on student finance see Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert website

For 2018 entry:

Course fees are paid for all students who meet the NHS student bursaries eligibility criteria. Eligible students will receive a non-means tested grant of £1,000, a means-tested bursary of up to £4,395.

Additional allowances are available for students with disabilities and dependents, but you will not be eligible for the Reduced Rate student loan.



Skills and careers

The 2016 Guardian University Guide ranked us 5th for nursing in the UK, while the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide named us university of the year for graduate employment.

Our graduates benefit from both an academic qualification and a professional qualification that serves to enhance their employment opportunities.

Nursing graduates enjoy careers in a diverse range of settings, including both the NHS and the private, voluntary and independent sector, either locally or further afield. Mental health nurses are the largest group of staff working in mental health services and you may choose to pursue a career in clinical care, teaching and research, or management. You can also continue studying with The University of Nottingham whilst in employment with our postgraduate and doctoral studies.

Find out more about the range of nursing careers.

For details of typical employment opportunities, check the RCN Bulletin and NHS Jobs website. 

Professional recognition

This course is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Average starting salary and career progression

A newly qualified nurse working in the NHS can expect to be employed at Band 5 with a salary ranging from £21,909 up to £28,462. With career progression and development there is the prospect of applying for senior clinical posts, for example, Band 6 Ward Manager/Band 6 District Nurse (salary range £26,302-£35,225) and Band 7 Specialist Nurse (salary range £31,383-£41,373).*

In 2015, 100% of first-degree graduates in the Division of Nursing who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,785 with the highest being £27,000.** 

*Based on NHS pay scales, April 2016.

**Known destinations of full-time home first degree undergraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK. 

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

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